Welcome to IdeaJones.com

Articles, radio stories, ads, columns, corporate communications, novels or scripts – we’re never short of ideas. You can see some of our designs in our Redbubble shop. We also have a small shop at Etsy.com.

 

Joey Jones is the published author and editor of many newspaper and magazine articles, radio stories, advertisements and commentaries, and has ghostwritten everything from speeches to love letters. She is a past Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting semifinalist and Fade In: Screenwriting Awards quarterfinalist. She also gathers sound and conducts interviews as a freelance field producer in the Sacramento area, and her on-air performance as “The Dying Fish” can be heard in the Water Education commercial series.

Mark Jones makes a living producing radio shows (like Connections on Capital Public Radio’s Music Station). As Martin Jenkins, he’s heard weekday evenings on CapRadio’s four news stations, and Sunday mornings on 91.3FM KUOP Stockton/Modesto. Mark has also sung, acted and directed local theater and TV.

 

We’re about the story. Whether it’s the facts and figures of nonfiction, or the deeper truth of fiction, we want to find just the right words, sounds, and/or images to get it across.

We’re also about the process. “Do the work right, and on time.” Life’s too short to make things harder than they have to be.

 

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Playing A New Game

Take a chance on yourself.

Hi. I hope the new year is treating you well. So far it’s not bad from here. True, I have a cold, but those happen. No sense taking it personally. I get frustrated when I get sick. Long story, but I took a long time to get around to living my own life, so I tend to think I shouldn’t take down time. I have “too much to catch up on!”

But I realized recently that I can’t start from anywhere but where I am, and can’t start as anyone but myself. I am who I am and I am where I am, and if sometimes it feels like I’m not where I “should” be, is that a useful idea? So I’m working on not living in the past, or trying to live in the future, or constantly measuring myself or my life against some invisible yardstick. This moment, cold and all, isn’t bad.

A friend of ours just got her driver’s license. She’s over 30 and had never intended to do anything but use Uber and Lyft and public transit, but she got a chance at a new job and they need her to drive occasionally. So, nervous as she was, she faced it head on and learned to drive. She’s continuing to challenge herself, learn new things, and go in whatever direction looks best to her at the time. That’s brave, not to get stuck in a rut because anything else is unfamiliar and uncomfortable.

I’m learning new things. For the first time, I got hired to create the art for a CD cover. It’s not something I had done before, but I met with the musician and his producer, they liked my ideas, so I decided to stretch myself and learn to do a new thing. We’re all happy with how the final artwork turned out, but I admit, it was a nervous business in the beginning. I wanted to do a good job for the client, and my own pride in my work.

I researched the covers in his genre of music and gave it some thought — it seemed to  make sense to honor the conventions of his genre (blues rock), but not simply be “one more in a herd of just that.” So we (yes, I created the artwork, but he had choices to make and participated in the creation) took a common theme in his genre and changed it up. It still fits his genre, but it won’t be just like hundreds of other covers. Still, could I pull off my idea?

Here’s one thing I figured out — most music is sold online now, which means a potential customer could first see it as a postage-stamp-sized picture on a phone or tablet. It used to be that album covers had to work in a fairly large size, that of an LP record. Then 45s came in, and the images had to work smaller. Then audio cassettes, now online sites showing pages of little “stamps.” The cover has to work at the size of, say, a tee shirt, and at that postage stamp size. I poured hours into creating an image that would be clear and interesting whether it was scaled up or scaled down. So I learned a new thing — to create artwork that works no matter what size it is.

I’m trying new media artistically, and trying new things as a writer. Who knows how successful it will all be, but I’m trying. Like our friend, I’m learning all I can and then getting in there. It’s like a roller coaster. Sometimes scary, sometimes exhilirating. I hope your new year brings you just enough of the right kinds of challenges to keep you growing.

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So That’s What It’s Like To Be Hip (Sort Of)

We went to Southern CA to visit friends (and some theme parks). Through a cosmic accident/karma/God decided to throw us a bone, the compact car we rented was unavailable. The rental agency had a crowd of people waiting and almost no cars. Mark is almost always polite and a nice guy, and the rental agent asked if we’d be willing to accept another car — then gave Mark a choice between an SUV and a convertible for the same rate as the compact we’d reserved.

A black Mustang GT convertible. Yes, please!

We caught a concert (The Tribe, a group of musicians who perform to raise money for charity. The group includes session and tour musicians, so the people who make famous people sound good), and is invariably fun and musically satisfying. Our friend was performing (because he is also a nice guy). Such fun to sit in the third row, watching our friend perform.

Flash forward to the last night of the trip. Our friend was performing again, in a small, very nice club in Westlake Village, CA (southern CA), Bogie’s. I suspect either he or his wife dropped a word, because we were shown to a table in the best section of the house, up on the riser, a seat down from the venue owner. We had a great view as our friend and his band rocked the house, and then other talented musicians came up (including Denny Laine of The Moody Blues and John York of The Byrds). They played the music from the Abbey Road album by The Beatles, and our friend came back up to join them.

I’ve never been particularly cool, but then, I’ve never really tried to be. My friends are incredibly cool people, though, each of them talented at something, whether it’s music, getting kids to read, art, teaching, animal rescue, or any number of other things. They’re passionate, funny, intelligent, good people. Through them, I occasionally get to sit at “the cool kids’ table” now and again.

But the coolest thing is just spending time with them. As cool as it was to watch John Wicks and The Records from a ringside table, the coolest thing was chatting over Indian food in a small restaurant with John and Valerie, catching up on our lives, talking about music and art, and just being together.

We’re posting some video from the Bogie’s concert on Youtube. Here’s a link to their performance of “Liverpool 6512:”https://youtu.be/5H-cu0DpTFU

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Happy Thanksgiving, Whoever and Wherever You Are

rainbow-heart-circle-neon-ideajones This is long for a post. It doesn’t start out so thankful, but it gets there. As I was telling friends, the other day I spoke with a friend who’s a therapist. She told me she’s working overtime every day because she’s getting referrals from people, LGBT, immigrants, etc., who are losing sleep, scared, worried, to the point where it’s harming their health.

As a relative used to say, “This is some shit.” Mark and I talked about what she said, and wondered whatever happened to minding one’s own business? I mean, a lot of things make me uncomfortable. People in Spandex out in public. Dudes who wear their underwear high and their pants low and so baggy they look like toddlers toting full diapers. Daddy Long Legs spiders.  I have a list.

But.

So long as whatever it is involves consenting adults and nobody’s underaged, under the influence or under coercion, if I don’t have to watch or help, it’s not my business. If it’s legal but it makes me uncomfortable, I get to feel how I feel and avoid it if I can, but when I can’t, the rules of courtesy apply. I don’t get to make that person feel ridiculed, or worse yet, threatened because I’m uncomfortable. My discomfort is not the litmus test by which other human beings must live.

I’ll be straight up here… I don’t get the transgendered thing. I don’t disapprove or approve… I just don’t get it. But I don’t have to. That person is still a person and he/she has a legal right to be who he/she is, and let me say it one more time… *it’s none of my business and I would treat that person with respect.* Because that person is a person, and so am I. My courtesy toward another human being is not dependent on my approval of how he’s living his life. You don’t have to pass a test for me to treat you decently.

You can be okay with me even if I don’t understand how you live your life. I don’t have to. Not my job. It’s not required and I don’t have time to freeze my life until I can make sense of all the things human beings do/are. So if it’s not for me, I keep my nose out of it, wish whoever it is well, and honor that person’s basic humanity.

Anyone who thinks that giving someone else respect and courtesy depends on approving of how that person lives his or her life doesn’t understand respect, or courtesy, or that how you treat people says a hell of a lot more about you than about them.

So what is it I’m thankful for? I’m thankful for people like my friend, who does a difficult job that only gets more difficult during stressful times. She does it with humor, intelligence and compassion.

I’m thankful that mom introduced the idea that I have a variety of options available when dealing with other people, and one of them is to keep my nose out of their business. As mom used to say, “Several billion people would have trouble walking through life hand in hand, so it’s okay that not everyone cottons to everyone else.” But she also told me that just because someone wasn’t for me didn’t mean he had no value at all.

I’m thankful for a minister who, when I was young and impressionable, told us that God loves everyone, even the people we disagree with or dislike. He told us that to deny another person’s dignity was to reduce our own. You don’t have to share my faith to share that idea.

I’m thankful that my life includes people who are intelligent, engaged in the world, passionate, and yet respectful even to people they disagree with.

And I’m thankful for you. You’ve read this far. You’re willing to at least consider what I have to say. You are interested in the world around you and art and other people or you wouldn’t even be here. We may disagree with each other about some things, even some important things, and yet find common ground.

As my friend Mary says, “You are awesome! Own it! Own it!” And you are.

And so are other people, even people who do things that neither you nor I understand. Most people are decent. Confusing, confounding, but decent. And nobody has a monopoly on human decency, intelligence, kindness or worthiness. There’s enough for all of us.

That’s a lot to be thankful for.

Save

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How To Save Your Own Life

hate-is-a-choice-ideajones(Or Break Your Own Heart).

It’s been a scary year. No matter which side of the fence you were on, or if you chose to stay home, or when offered a choice between A and B you decided to order a mongoose, someone has called you a deluded moron, either online or to your face.

We’ve been played, dear ones. And we’re still being played.

We were encouraged to be angry and suspicious of each other. To believe that *our* side held the golden ticket to the 100% pure, diamond-studded Answer From On High, and the people on the other side were idiots, deranged, dangerous, barely human. If you found yourself saying (insert group of your choice) are (stupid, crazy, dangerous, unpatriotic, selfish, lazy, whatever insult you’ve got), say it with me now, “Baaaaaaaa!” We’re growing wool, dear ones.

Doesn’t matter what party you belong to or if you don’t belong to a party at all. If you criticized not the candidates, but their followers, you got played. Because those people you’ve been calling names? They’re the same people you’re going to have to work with if anything is going to get better. No group is big enough to do it alone. And no group is large enough to do it despite the others. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “We may have come to this country on different ships, but we’re all in the same boat now.” He wasn’t wrong.

The riots going on? No matter what party we belong to, we own those. If you’re a Republican, and you spent this last year saying “they” don’t love this country, or “they” want to take away jobs and don’t care about what’s important or are just blindly following the party line, you personally asked your neighbors to refuse to accept it if the GOP candidate won and fight to protect themselves. If you didn’t stand up and loudly refuse to go along when candidates and supporters called other people a threat, then you bought a piece of the discord going on now.

Democrat? Spent the year ridiculing supporters on the other side, saying they’re dangerous, stupid, crazy or all three and want to throw the country back to the Stone Age? Congrats, you helped solidify the opposition’s support and gave those people no good way to simply change their minds.

Third party voter or nonvoter? By not bothering to find out how the Electoral College works, you turned yourself into a cipher. You removed yourself from the process and made it that much easier for the powers that be to ignore you.

If you got this far, first off, thanks, you’re a brave soul. And yes, I count myself in the “us” that screwed everything up. We all belong to this club.

Mason Cooley said “Enjoy an insult as you deliver it, before you learn its cost.” Congratulations, you win a riot, and you win a riot, and we all win a riot! Yay for us?

So what’s next, dear ones? Where do we go from here? What do we want done? Let’s be clear — no matter who won, that person would still be an insider gaming the system. Not that whoever it is would wish you ill, but chances are his first priority would be pleasing the people who got him there. He’s willing to do you some good if it does him no harm.

So let’s not leave it up to whoever’s in charge. Leaders can only lead if followers follow — otherwise that “leader” is just a person going it alone. Talk to your neighbors, yes, even the ones you disagree with. What do you want in your community?  What can you agree on? Find that stuff, take all this wild energy we seem to possess, and let’s get to work. Together.

One thing to remember is that when you’re hurting or unhappy and someone tells you the problem is *that* person *over there,* it’s usually to deflect you from noticing that at least part of the problem is right there, pointing at someone else. People who genuinely want to help you don’t waste time getting you to blame somebody else. They help you.

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The Pumpkin Dance

https://youtu.be/TxthoEideajones-happy-jackmkNi4

Happy Halloween! The link above is to a short (under a minute) video I created to the music of our friends Mick Martin and the Blues Rockers. Mark asked for a bit of animation, so there’s a bit of limited animation in there. Hope your holiday is all kinds of fun — Jj

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